Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:49 pm




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 
Vulgar Auteurism 
Author Message
Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1361
Post Vulgar Auteurism
Well, it seems my bottom-shelf mentality doesn't isolate me as much as I thought. Though I hadn't noticed until today, apparently there was a substantial wave of writing about the topic earlier this year in June. The phrase "Vulgar Auteurism" somehow managed to spark a good amount of buzz, google it and you find more than a dozen articles in response to it, all written at the same time earlier this summer.

The focus seems to be on giving action directors their due credit. Curiously, much of the talk seems to have sprung from Armond White's article, "Battle of the Andersons." Paul W.S. Anderson seems to be the poster child for vulgar auteurism, along with Neveldine/Taylor, Justin Lin, and a few others.

The basic idea, which seems to have come from mubi and a Russian critic named Vishnevetsky, received criticism for being nothing new. I agree, it's definitely nothing new, but I think it's in desperate need of a resurgence. Or perhaps not so desperate. These directors seem to do alright even with all the hate and ignorance they get. But one article in particular was really striking to me, from the New Yorker. It labels this perspective as a "how low can you go approach to film criticism/appreciation. But then it goes on to make a startlingly sharp observation. The "how low can you go" mentality was, in many ways, the basis for the French New Wave 50 years ago. Godard and his mates spent almost two decades pouring through the bowels of B-film archives in order to gain their particular brand of wisdom. And that wisdom is what propelled decades of film history after it, and has just recently, IMO, begun to be all too forgotten.

The other important thing the New Yorker observes is that Godard's sensibility came not just from B movies, but from a balanced diet which included also Griffith, Renoir, and other universally recognized textbook touchstones of the time. It's important to remember that B movies and popcorn flicks can never encompass all that is great in movies. BUT it is currently the kind of film that is most in need of defense. Now, more than ever, I think it's important to bore into the particular fascination these movies are capable of holding. This is as close to uncharted territory as it gets. This particular area of criticism has never been properly explored or delved into. There is a rather large group of movies which have never been properly connected to one another, and which have never been thoroughly explained or evaluated. Better understanding them, and the motivations/sensibilities behind their making, can only lead to greater understanding of the art form itself. Hopefully, the sporadic interest sparked in June is the beginning of something.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:02 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 6976
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Vulgar Auteurism
Something I want to point out is that the French New Wave may have extolled the virtues of B-movies, but B movies weren't "bad" movies by any stretch (well, many of them were I suppose, but not by definition) so much as they were the movies the studio didn't care as much about. Nicholas Ray is NOT Neveldine/Taylor.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:48 pm
Profile
Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1361
Post Re: Vulgar Auteurism
JamesKunz wrote:
Something I want to point out is that the French New Wave may have extolled the virtues of B-movies, but B movies weren't "bad" movies by any stretch (well, many of them were I suppose, but not by definition) so much as they were the movies the studio didn't care as much about. Nicholas Ray is NOT Neveldine/Taylor.


Nicholas Ray didn't make action movies. Ray is in a different category altogether and is irrelevant to this topic. The applicable equivalents would be Raoul Walsh, Jacques Tourneur, Anthony Mann, Robert Siodmak, Jules Dassin, Joseph Lewis, Phil Karlson, etc. Not Nicholas Ray. B movies have never been "bad" by definition. You certainly can't place Paul Anderson or Pierre Morel in the same category as Uwe Boll or Ed Wood either. Certainly it's also not a stretch to consider the films of Anderson, Neveldine/Taylor, Luc Besson, Snyder, Wayne Kramer, and even Michael Bay an advancement when placed next to some of those others? Obviously I'm a huge fan of Mann, but those others were essentially the action signposts of their day and considerably less imaginative than their modern equivalents. Films like Killers, Gun Crazy, I Walked with a Zombie, Naked City, and Where the Sidewalk Ends are dryer than sandpaper. Whereas something like Kiss Me Deadly is energized and fascinating to this day. As is Night of the Hunter, for example. There have been a lot of lower rung movies in the last 10 years which are closer to the latter two, but they don't get any credit. Think about how much work Olivier Megaton put into Transporter 3 compared to how Raoul Walsh sleepwalked through disposable junk like The Roaring Twenties and High Sierra. And that's a fact of craftsmanship, not an opinion. All Walsh had to do was set up static compositions and tell Cagney to try and be entertaining (though White Heat is exceptional). Megaton's editing style takes work on pretty much every level. And in certain specific areas of the craft, it's an unprecedented amount of work.

The point being, a creative person can find interest in things that other people can't. That's what makes them creative. Unfortunately, they are often lambasted and ignored because they are creative. And perhaps also because they are hard workers.


Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:09 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot], Ken, Majestic-12 [Bot] and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr